25 August 2020 In General Health

Understanding the associations between types of alcoholic drinks and adiposity has public health relevance, considering that adult overweight and obesity prevalence are increasing worldwide. We aimed to evaluate the association between overall alcohol consumption and types of alcohol drinks with markers of adiposity from the UK Biobank baseline data (n = 280,183, 48.3% female). G

eneralized linear models were used to examine the associations between alcohol consumption with body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage. Those drinking within the public health guidelines had a lower BMI by 1.34 kg/m(2) (95% CI 1.42, 1.26 kg/m(2)) compared to never drinkers. Association between alcohol consumption and body fat percentage were not statistically significant. Compared to those who never drink wines (red wine, champagne and fortified wine), drinkers of these alcoholic beverages had lower BMI (difference of -0.75 kg/m(2), 95% CI -0.78, -0.72 kg/m(2); -0.48 kg/m(2), 95% CI -0.52, -0.45 kg/m(2); and -0.24 kg/m(2), 95% CI -0.29, -0.18 kg/m(2), respectively).

Beer and spirits drinkers had higher BMI compared to never drinkers of beer and spirits (difference of 0.18 kg/m(2), 95% CI 0.14, 0.22 kg/m(2) and 0.64 kg/m(2), 95% CI 0.61, 0.68 kg/m(2), respectively). Our data did not find a link between alcohol drinking and higher risk of obesity.

25 August 2020 In Drinking Patterns

INTRODUCTION: A significant minority of Australians drink within the 2009 national guidelines. Despite encouragement of low-risk drinking as opposed to consumption patterns associated with greater harm, little is known about the drinking patterns of this group. This paper identifies subgroups of low-risk drinkers and their distinguishable characteristics.

METHODS: Data were sourced from the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, specifically 8492 adults (18+) who consumed 1-730 Australian standard drinks (ASD; 10 g ethanol) in the past year, and never 5+ ASD on a single occasion. Cluster analysis enabled identification of subgroups from drinking variables. Drinking patterns, socio-demographic characteristics, drinking context and alcohol-related perceptions of subgroups were examined.

RESULTS: Three subgroups were identified. Special occasion drinkers (64.6%) drank low to moderate amounts very infrequently. Regular moderates (19.6%) and Regular sippers (15.8%) drank 5-6 days a week on average, with the average number of ASD per day 1.2 and 0.5, respectively. Special occasion drinkers tended to be younger than members of more regular drinking subgroups. Perceptions of regular alcohol use also differed between Special occasion drinkers and members of the other subgroups.

DISCUSSION: Alcohol consumption patterns among low-risk drinkers are not homogeneous. Younger drinkers who consume at low-risk levels are more likely to report infrequent consumption than moderate regular consumption. A better understanding of low-risk drinkers may help increase the prominence and acceptability of this type of drinking, challenge the normativity of heavier drinking norms and help target campaigns as new information emerges on health risks associated with low-level drinking.

24 January 2020 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption, even at low-levels, can not be guaranteed as safe or risk free. Specifically, the 2009 Australian National Health and Medical Research Council drinking guidelines recommend that adults should not drink more than two standard drinks on any day on average, and no more than four drinks on a single occasion. Nearly 40% of Australians aged 12 years and older drink alcohol but don't exceed these recommended limits, yet adult low-risk drinkers have been largely overlooked in Australian alcohol survey research, where they are usually grouped with abstainers. This paper examines the socio-demographic profile of low-risk drinking adults (18+ years old), compared to those who abstain.

METHODS: Data from the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey were used. In the past 12 months, 4796 Australians had not consumed alcohol and 8734 had consumed alcohol at low-risk levels, accounting for both average volume and episodic drinking (hereafter low-risk).

RESULTS: Multivariate logistic regression results indicated that low-risk drinkers were more likely to be older, married, Australian-born, and reside in a less disadvantaged neighbourhood compared with abstainers. There was no significant difference by sex between low-risk drinkers and abstainers.

CONCLUSIONS: The socio-demographic profile of low-risk drinkers differed from that of abstainers. Combining low-risk drinkers and abstainers into a single group, which is often the practice in survey research, may mask important differences. The study may support improved targeting of health promotion initiatives that encourage low-risk drinkers not to increase consumption or, in view of increasing evidence that low-risk drinking is not risk free, to move towards abstinence.

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